Brief Recap of Netflix’s “Queer Eye We’re in Japan!”
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Brief Recap of Netflix’s “Queer Eye We’re in Japan!”

By Elizabeth Gibson for The J-Pop Exchange

This article contains minor spoilers of Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!

The past four seasons of Queer Eye saw the “Fab Five,” as they’re commonly known, helping people from Georgia and Missouri.

For the special four-episode season released on Netflix November 1, the Fab Five -- Antoni Porowski, food and wine expert; Tan France, fashion expert; Karamo Brown, culture and lifestyle expert; Bobby Berk, design expert; and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert -- flew to Tokyo, Japan, to help four new heroes.

This special season added a sixth member for the new season to help guide them around Tokyo. Kiko Mizuhara, an incredibly famous Japanese model and actress, acts as the Fab Five's Tokyo tour guide throughout the four episodes. Additionally, the Fab Five were able to communicate with the four heroes of the season with the help of an off-screen translator named Lena.

The four episodes bring major issues to light that are inflicting Japan, from emotional repression to declining sex/birth rates to the importance of slender femininity for women.

Episode One: "Japanese Holiday"

Yoko-San Sakuma, 57, was nominated by her good friend Fumiko. As Fumiko said, Yoko-San, a nurse who runs a hospice center out of her home, was always putting others first. It’s revealed that Yoko-San had a sister who passed away after battling pancreatic cancer. Yoko-San confessed to Karamo she regretted her sister died alone in the hospital, and that’s why she felt the urge to open a hospice care center out of her home. The Fab Five taught her that it’s okay to practice self care, gave her and her home a makeover, and revitalized her self esteem and self worth.

Episode Two: “Crazy in Love”

The second episode featured hero, Kan, a 27-year-old gay man living in Tokyo who is very much aware of the fact that being gay is still largely considered taboo in Japan. He’s in a long distance relationship with his U.K. boyfriend, Tom, who visits him and meets Kan’s mother and brother for dinner at the end of the episode. The Fab Five redecorate his rented studio apartment, get him a new wardrobe, and boost his confidence. He also meets makeup artist and Buddhist Monk, Kodo Nishimura, who joins Karamo and Kan for a heartbreaking conversation about both queer and racial identity. The last shot of the episode is Kan completing one of his life goals: holding Tom’s hand in public.

Episode Three: “The Ideal Woman”

Hero Kae, a 23-year-old manga illustrator and artist, begins the episode by talking about her self esteem issues. She lives at home with her mother and shares a messy bedroom with her younger sister, who both want her to try being a little more organized, especially seeing as they live in a small home together. Kae hides her body with large, unflattering dresses, but after Tan takes her shopping, she realizes she can still dress modestly without hiding her figure. Comedian and model Naomi Watanabe makes a special appearance in this episode, where she encourages Kae to come out of her shell and be herself. Kae and her mother have a heart-to-heart with the help of Antoni, where they vow to say “I love you” more often.

Episode Four: “Bringing Sexy Back”

Episode four features a man named Makoto, a 37-year-old radio director. He and his wife, Yasuko, have been married for seven years, but their intimacy has been pretty much non-existent for the majority of it. Makoto is shy, but he wants to be more confident in all areas of his life. As he puts it, he wants to "change from a rock into a psychedelic flower." Karamo set up a heart-to-heart conversation between Makoto and Yasuko, where they are finally able to talk about their marital issues, as they have not properly communicated in years. We learn his biggest fear is whether or not she still loves him, and hers is that she's not a good wife because she doesn't clean or cook, and it’s heartbreaking. Fortunately, they agree to keep talking about their feelings and issues going forward.

After Queer Eye: We're in Japan, the next season of the show will return to the United States to film in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But if the international special season does well, the Fab Five may return to Japan or go somewhere completely different for more episodes.

More by Elizabeth Gibson:

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